One In A Million – Miriam Nava




One In A Million Feature Questions

Name: Miriam Nava

School: Madrid Neighborhood School

Grade: 1st Grade

How long have you been a teacher?
This is currently my first-year teaching.

What made you get into the teaching profession?
When I was younger, I had amazing teachers that I looked up to. I thought about becoming a teacher just them. As I grew older, I started to look into different profession. I always knew I wanted to work with children, but I was sure in what field. In high school, I did an Early Childhood program in which I taught preschool children and it was there, where I fell in love with teaching. I truly enjoyed seeing children’s curiosity when learning different topics. I knew that I wanted to be the person that helped children develop a love for learning.

Who was your most inspirational teacher and why?
My most inspirational teacher was Mrs. VonPrisk, my 3rd grade teacher. She was one of the many amazing teachers that I had. She made her classroom a safe space, where I always felt loved and welcome. She cared so much about us. Being an English Language Learner, reading was difficult for me. However, when you have a patient and encouraging teacher like Mrs. VonPrisk, it makes it much easier. I only hope I can be as inspiring for my students, as she was for me.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now?
I think one of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now is the pandemic. Covid has had a great impact in education. Across grade levels, teachers can see that many students are working below their grade level. For many students, this is their first time back in school in almost two years. My students are a perfect example. Most of my students had never been to school before. This is their first year ever being in school. Because of this, they came into the classroom working well below first grade level. Like many teachers, it has been a challenge trying to get them to their grade level.

How do these issues affect your day to day?
These issues affect my day to day because every day I work hard to try to get my students to be where they need to be. It has affected how I teach my students, making sure I modify and adjust my lessons to meet my students’ needs, but also challenge them. I had to combine two years of curriculum, kindergarten and first grade, into one school year. This has definitely been a challenge, not only for myself, but also my students who are working incredibly hard every day.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you?
The $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers is great. As teachers, we spend a lot of our money on getting supplies that we need for our classroom. It’s nice to receive something extra that we can use for out classroom, especially when it does not come out of our own pocket.

How are the expectations of becoming a teacher different than the reality?
The expectations of becoming a teacher are very different from the reality because many people may think that teachers simply teach. However, there are so many other components that teachers are faced with. It’s not just about teaching different subjects, but also managing student behavior. Some days can be harder than other days. However, overcoming the hard days with love and patience will show our students how much we care and only make us better teachers.

Why do you think teachers burn out so quickly?
I think teachers burn out so quickly because this profession is challenging and demanding. The reality is that teachers do so much more than just teach. Teachers spend so many hours lesson planning, grading, and working past contract hours. It’s hard to create a balance between work and home in teaching, when work is constantly being taken home. Because of this, many teachers burn out.

What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty?
My students definitely “fill my cup” when I’m running on empty. Seeing how happy they are to come to school every day makes me feel like I am doing something right as a teacher. When Friday comes and my students know the weekend is coming, they get sad because they won’t see me for two days. It fills my heart with joy how much they love coming to school. I love when my students give me drawings that they’ve made for me. I have a whole collection now! They get so excited to give me the art they created.

What are some of the most thoughtful and effective ways parents and the community can show gratitude?
I think the most thoughtful and effective way parents and the community can show gratitude is with small acts. Simply thanking teachers goes a long way it shows appreciation for what they’re doing. Supporting teachers in and out of the classroom, I think can also be a thoughtful and effective way to show gratitude. This job is not easy and having parent and community support can go a long way.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?
My wish for Arizona’s children is for them to continue to grow and love learning. I want children to see how enjoyable learning truly is. I also want them to know that there will always be someone who cares about them. Someone who will support, guide, and advocate for them in whatever they may need.

What additional support or supplies do you need in your classroom and who do people contact if they want to help out?
Because I’m a first-year teacher, I am still building my classroom library. My students are first graders who are just beginning to read and I would love to provide them with so many more books that they can read. If people would like to help out by donating some books, they can email me at

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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+